Happy New Year, y’all!
I have a wrap-up Elf On the Shelf blog post planned, and high hopes of blogging my favorite images of 2015 sometime soon, but I had to do something today that was super hard for me, and I thought it would be fun to share with you.
I had to choose 10 images for critique.
OMG, that word strikes fear into my heart.
It’s even an offensive word to write, with its stupid, pretentious “que” at the end.
I hate being critiqued.
Because….I am my own worst critic. And the thought of someone else pointing out all of my flaws in an image makes me want to cringe. Hard.
But, it’s a really, really, REALLY good way to learn how to improve, so here I am…
I am scheduled to attend a workshop in Philadelphia with one of my very favorite photographers very soon.
I. Literally. Cannot. Wait.
One of their workshop requirements is to submit a full wedding for critique (eek!), as well as 10 specific images for full critique.
The only criteria I was given for choosing these 10 images was that it’s usually most beneficial to send 10 images that I’d most like feedback on.
So I can’t even send in my very, very favorite images that show my style because many of those don’t overlap this requirement.
(hahahahaha…like I could narrow it down to my 10 most favorite images)
Tonight, I set aside all of my emotional baggage, and went through my archives for these 10 images.
Because the deadline is tomorrow.
This. Was. Excruciating.
I gave myself two boundaries to make it only slightly easier…the photos had to be from 2015 and they were to be either weddings or engagements.
Although we were given the opportunity to submit anything we wanted, this particular photographer specializes in weddings and engagement photography and I thought it would be most beneficial for me to focus on that genre for this workshop.
Wanna see which images I chose to submit?
Here they are, in no particular order, with my commentary:
First up is a favorite from one of my fall engagements. The sun was absolutely perfect this day, and the couple trusted me to make a detour to a beautiful field. I simply adore this image…the composition…the light…the expressions. The highlights in the sky are blown out a bit, but, other than that, I feel like it’s just about perfect. But I’m not a master photographer and I want to know what’s wrong with it out of morbid curiosity. Because a shot like this is something I’m striving for in every session…
The next one is from another engagement session. Here I was trying to use the fence to make some leading lines to the couple and create some fun foreground. The sun got in my image and made the flare. I seriously struggle to make the flare circles and I want to know why it worked in this image…and how to control where the circles go because I don’t like that it’s on his foot. Love their expressions and I love the shadows in this image. It makes me smile.
Ahhhhh…this next engagement session was insanely good. The couple wanted somewhere different and they trusted me to find a good location that incorporated a bunch of things, including a field. We hopped in the car and started driving, and I’m super lucky that we found this field right next to a church, just down the road. I love this image and I love this pose, even though it feels super awkward in the moment. There’s something I just can’t quite put my finger on that bothers me with the composition of this image. I like them off-center, but maybe it’s giving a little bit more tension in the photo than it should? Or maybe I should have darkened the left edge a bit to draw in your eye to the couple? I don’t know. I love this shot, but I’d like to know what would make it better.
If you’ve seen my Facebook page lately, you know I love this image. LOVE it. I slightly wish he wasn’t looking at the camera—maybe at her? And/or a slightly more smiley expression? But this groom was an absolute hoot to work with and I think it shows his personality well. I’m curious if I should have zoomed out just a bit to give a bit more visual space to the background.
This next image was from a gorgeous engagement session on her family’s property, which was beautiful. We had this lake to work with. And that dock. And they were super okay with ditching the mud boots for bare feet. Sigh. Love their expressions. I love the composition. The only thing I don’t love is the color of the lake. It was cloudy that day, so the water was reflecting the grey clouds. I’m curious what I could have done to improve this shot.
Same wedding as above. But not on purpose…I just liked how this shot came out and wanted some feedback on the lighting, as I do this shot frequently if we have a pretty sunset to work with. I’m curious if I should put a different colored gel on my light. Or if the light is too harsh. Or if the background is too dark. Or if I should have put the light on the other side. But I love how this one turned out.
This next one was my first attempt at a backlit rain shot. And, oddly enough, I didn’t have any other opportunities to try this shot at other weddings this year. I love this photo, but, again, just wanted to know what I should do to make it better. The raindrops seem really out of focus, so I’m curious if I should have narrowed my aperture to make them more in focus? I like that we can see the couple’s faces, but perhaps I shouldn’t have lit the couple? This shot reminds me of a movie poster. I love it so.
Cathedral. Length. Veils. Are. My. Favorite.
Ladies…we need more of these. I even had one at my own wedding and I feel like I should maybe just bring it to any and all weddings for fun shots. This was one of my first super long veils in which I’ve had time during couple photos to play with, so I’m curious how I did. I really like how this photo turned out, but I’d also like to have some more ideas on how to utilize long veils during the wedding day for fun photos.
This next couple picked the very perfect fall day to have their engagement session done. Fall leaves were ON POINT! And their clothing choices were perfect. I love this image and I was very deliberate in how it was made…love the slight reflection in the water, though I wish it was more of a full reflection. Mostly curious about how I did, and what I could do to make photos like this better.
The last image I chose was one I really like to do if I have the opportunity with stained glass windows in churches. So for these, I’d like to know if I’m getting the exposure right, is the composition okay, is this the right lens to use, should I have straightened those lines better…basically what could turn this photo from “wow, that’s really pretty” into “OMG THAT’S THE MOST AMAZING PHOTO I’VE EVER SEEN.”
Selecting these photos and putting them out there was both cathartic and terrifying.
So, basically, how I feel on a daily basis with this business. =)
And we aren’t even to the critique part yet…
To the couples whose photos were chosen or not chosen…please don’t take anything I’ve said or not said the wrong way…this was a journey for me to go on, and I hesitated putting this out there because I don’t want anyone to think I didn’t like their images.
I am so proud of my work and I am so honored that YOU love my work. My job is to capture your memories in the most beautiful way possible. And I take that job very, very seriously.
Which is why I’m always trying to improve.
It’s nice having friends who will take that journey with me too.
Much love, friends. Happy new year!